Intestinal ischemia and reperfusion (i-I/R) is an insult associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is not known if pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators in ARDS induced by i-I/R can be controlled by low-level laser therapy (LLLT). This study was designed to evaluate the effect of LLLT on tracheal cholinergic reactivity dysfunction and the release of inflammatory mediators from the lung after i-I/R. Anesthetized rats were subjected to superior mesenteric artery occlusion (45 min) and killed after clamp release and preestablished periods of intestinal reperfusion (30 min, 2 or 4 h). The LLLT (660 nm, 7.5 J/cm(2)) was carried out by irradiating the rats on the skin over the right upper bronchus for 15 and 30 min after initiating reperfusion and then euthanizing them 30 min, 2, or 4 h later. Lung edema was measured by the Evans blue extravasation technique, and pulmonary neutrophils were determined by myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity. Pulmonary tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-10 (IL-10), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and isoform of NO synthase (iNOS) mRNA expression were analyzed by real-time PCR. TNF-α, IL-10, and iNOS proteins in the lung were measured by the enzyme-linked immunoassay technique. LLLT (660 nm, 7.5 J/cm(2)) restored the tracheal hyperresponsiveness and hyporesponsiveness in all the periods after intestinal reperfusion. Although LLLT reduced edema and MPO activity, it did not do so in all the postreperfusion periods. It was also observed with the ICAM-1 expression. In addition to reducing both TNF-α and iNOS, LLLT increased IL-10 in the lungs of animals subjected to i-I/R. The results indicate that LLLT can control the lung's inflammatory response and the airway reactivity dysfunction by simultaneously reducing both TNF-α and iNOS.